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Apr 122011
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I have hope again.  It’s dangling in front of me again … for at least the next 29 hours or so.

I’m writing this at 9:30 on Tuesday morning.  Tomorrow afternoon at 1:30, President Obama will deliver a speech.  I had no hope for the speech yesterday at this time, when I was still reeling from David Plouffe’s surprise statements on the Sunday shows that POTUS would unveil his “broad plan to reduce debt”.  As he’s leaned over so far backward to appease that right lately that he could probably touch his ass with head, I figured his “plan” would be to keep telling us how great his huge cuts were…

And then, to my utter shock and surprised delight, I awoke to this lovely piece in the LA Times: “Obama to draw sharp contrast with GOP over deficit.”  You can click and read the whole thing, but here are a few choice passages:

President Obama will call for shrinking the nation’s long-term deficits by raising taxes on wealthier Americans and requiring them to pay more into Social Security, drawing a barbed contrast with a Republican plan to save money by deeply slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic spending.

Obama will offer some spending cuts, including trims to the Pentagon’s budget, but his speech Wednesday is likely to provide Americans with a vivid choice between higher taxes or fewer benefits, issues that will color the national debate straight through the 2012 election….

Obama would end tax breaks for households earning more than $250,000 a year, trim Pentagon spending, lift a cap on the amount of income that is assessed for Social Security, and save on Medicare and Medicaid through alterations to healthcare delivery, administration officials said. He will speak about 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on the campus of George Washington University.

Dare I have hope again?  I’m still too shell shocked to believe this president will stand for the democratic values I cherish, but this is the first sign I’ve seen from this administration in too long that they’ll actually stand up for what’s right.

This morning, I’ll discuss the possibilities with Digby, who just yesterday wrote “Catfood: It’s What’s for Dinner“.

And Gotta Laff brings us some stories we might otherwise have missed from The Political Carnival, including

VIDEO- BLUNT: “Small Government” GOP? Ha!

VIDEO- President Obama’s family speaks out on birthers, Donald Trump

Bart Stupak moves to K Street

Quickie: Michele Bachmann is “committed to being a one-term president…”

Series of posts on WI:
Waukesha Dem member of the Board of Canvassers: “Shocking & somewhat appalling… I feel like I must speak up.”

BUT: Waukesha County investigation ongoing, but “We don’t see, at this point, any criminal activity…”

AND: AUDIO: Scott Walker Freudian slip?

AND: Scott Walker accidentally vows that unions won’t “steal back” Prosser’s victory!

Do the math: New budget deal saves $38 billion. Bush tax cut deal COST $150 billiion.

Terrorism suspects held for weeks in secret

“Too much like Bush”

***Update***  Just moments before hitting the air this morning, someone sent me this piece from the Washington Post that directly contradicts the LA Times piece about which I was almost, once again, hopeful.  Click the link to read “Obama turns to his deficit commission’s blueprint for relieving debt” (or not), as here’s the relevant, sickening part:

President Obama plans this week to respond to a Republican blueprint for tackling the soaring national debt by promoting a bipartisan approach pioneered by an independent presidential commission rather than introducing his own detailed plan.

Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. Instead, he is expected to offer support for the commission’s work and a related effort underway in the Senate to develop a strategy for curbing borrowing. Obama will frame the approach as a responsible alternative to the 2012 plan unveiled last week by House Republicans, according to people briefed by the White House.

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Apr 112011
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As the new week begins, I’m still reeling from the events that transpired on Friday.

As the country was waiting anxiously to see how the budget standoff would end Friday night, I was sitting in an attorney’s office, signing away my rights to my house.  The house that my father bought after my mother died, where he lived his final dozen or so years in misery as a quadriplegic, is no longer my burdon.

I bought my sister out of her share of the house after my father died … at the height of the market.  The house that my dad over-paid for in the early ’80′s at $140,000 appraised for a whopping $385k when I bought it in 2007.  The house in which I owed $265k for which the bank on Friday took $120,000 for it in a short sale….

I’m glad to be out from under it, but still grieving for the $120k or so I lost in the house that I considered to be a safe investment.

The day only got worse when the latest deal was announced with respect to our country’s budgetary blues.  True, a shutdown was averted — but this was just the opening shot of a three-stage attack that will continue with part two on the debt ceiling and part three on the battle of the 2012 budget in which the Ryan/Boehner/Teabaggers will do their best to kill off our seniors along with Social Security and Medicare.

The mere fact that the Democrats in Congress and the White House allowed themselves to “bargain” on social programs tells you who’s winning this war.  At a time when the recovery is as fragile as Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the GOP is controlling the debate once again.  The fact that the president will today outline his “Broad plan to reduce debt” instead of pushing forward with a plan to stimulate the economy by building infrastructure and taking care of our neediest over the right wing ideology that continues to reward the richest among us for being rich and punishing the rest of us because we aren’t is a painful pill to swallow.

And as our election process is as flawed as its ever been, but the events that unfolded in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election last week was ignored by the main stream media and the Sunday talking head shows is just plain disgusting.  We’re talking about it with BradBlog’s Brad Friedman on today’s show, along with Crooks and Liars’ Nicole Belle, who joins me for today’s “Fools on the Hill” segment:

As a parent, one of the most difficult—but necessary—lessons I have to teach my kids is thinking out the consequences of one’s actions.  I see precious little discussion of consequences in DC and I think that the lack of it is really disinforming Americans as to the impact of Republican policies and plans.  I am convinced that if the media just did their job and pointed out the consequences of this legislation being proposed to their reader/viewership, we would see the Republican influence in the marketplace of ideas dry up completely.

The discussion of near government shutdown crowded the oxygen out of the media room for any other discussions, including the election shenanigans in Wisconsin.  Funny how the media likes to focus on voter fraud in the form of the debunked New Black Panther Party, but are conspicuously silent on election fraud, especially when it favors a Republican.  Those are just consequences that our media just aren’t interested in telling people about.

For example, Mike Pence—who joined in the screaming of “Shut it down!”  last week –is still attacking Planned Parenthood, even though the government shutdown was averted by taking defunding Planned Parenthood off the table.  He tells Christiane Amanpour that he doesn’t want to fund abortion-providers even though the Hyde Amendment prevents federal dollars from being used for abortion and Planned Parenthood spends considerable more time on health issues than on abortion (which is only 3% of the organization’s work).  But facts don’t bother Pence and neither does the consequences of taking away one of the few outlets the poor and uninsured have for health care.    For someone who claims to be pro-life, Pence is certainly dooming families all over the country to a lot of misery.

Speaking of misery, Eric Cantor admits to Social Security and Medicare aren’t going to be there when he retires.   And he’s right, if we keep giving Republicans control of Congress.  But it is singularly infuriating to hear this privileged white male refer to seniors who have worked all their lives and are now in their final years as “welfare queens”.  What kind of immoral and inhumane country does Cantor want when we discard people as callously as he would?

Washington’s newest It Boy Paul Ryan, whose dreamy good looks has apparently enthralled the media so much that the only adjective they can use in describing his Randian nightmare of an economic proposal is “courageous” got a surprisingly tough questions from David Gregory, although Gregory didn’t have the journalistic integrity to point out that Ryan’s responses were oddly tangential to the questions posed.  When David Gregory asks if it isn’t true that the CBO calculated that seniors’ medical expenses would increase under his plan and that’s why Republicans have failed time and again to get public support for their privatization schemes, Ryan’s only response is to assure Gregory that competition will keep medical costs down.

How exactly does that work, though?  Do we as consumers get the luxury to compare prices of ambulance services and ER charges?  Of course not.  Even medical supplies get padded hugely by companies looking to work around insurance companies’ renumerations.  Or you can look at the monopoly of Big Pharma, with single pills priced at $80 or more.  Tell me, how are private citizens to get that savings from competition? And this is where I get stuck with Ryan’s plan: the consequences. Seniors may be living longer, but they need medical care for those additional years. Under Ryan’s plan, the government won’t be paying it…but those costs don’t go away. Who do you think is paying for it? Seniors don’t have that additional income–especially if Ryan gets his way and dismantles Social Security to boot. So who makes up that cost?

It’s interesting to me how to a one, conservatives are repeating the same lines that the only way to deal with the rising costs of Medicare is to dismantle it.  As George Will says, that’s not according to Mr. Ryan, that’s according to Mr. Arithmetic. (we used an ABC embed—the key bit is from 0:57 to 2:04) They go on and on about how Medicare is going to go bankrupt. But what is never mentioned is the actual end of that sentence “…under current spending levels.”

Let’s remember that there are two sides to that coin. One way to deal with rising costs is to drastically cut benefits. But that doesn’t reduce the existence of the need for those benefits, it simply transfers the costs to the individual. But the other way to deal with it– which is apparently unthinkable to George Will and Chrystia Freeland–is to increase revenue, in the form of tax increases. Yes, I said the dreaded phrase: tax increases. At the time that Medicare was enacted in 1965, the top marginal tax rate was 70%. Now it’s less than 40%. Of course there’s no money…we’re too busy allowing the uber-wealthy and corporations to skate on their share of the social fabric to create huge population-sized holes in the safety net.

And to end the segment on a lighter note, Howard Kurtz looks atthe very long-in-coming exit of Glenn Beck from Fox News (again, CNN embed…only the first 25 seconds are necessary).  The thing that I found funny is the absolute denial of how toxic Glenn Beck is.  We’ve been told over and over that liberal media simply can’t compete in the marketplace of ideas.  But here we have Glenn Beck, who has lost more than a million viewers over the last year and almost 400 advertisers.  It appears to me that the “free market” has spoken and Glenn’s product is appealing to an ever-dwindling number of wackaloons.  But no, for Howie, Glenn Beck is simply chafing under the restrictions of Roger Ailes (you know, the guy who buys his blackboards and underwrote his 9-12 rally and provided lots of free advertising for it on other Fox shows) and the desires of the journalists at Fox News (*cough cough*) to have credibility.  David Zurawik, the Baltimore Post’s fairly conservative television critic, diagnoses Beck with a messianic complex, which I think is a fair point.  And that messianic complex made him unwilling to tamper down that which was losing viewers and ad dollars.  And so, the free market has spoken and Beck loses his platform.

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Apr 082011
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There’s a fairly large portion of the population who believe things that make absolutely no sense in the real world. They buy the bullshit from the hucksters and con-men and opportunists and religious zealots who tell them that health care as a basic human right is a bad thing, and that cutting taxes for the richest of the rich – while increasing the burden on the working class and the unemployed – is the right thing to do.

It’s Opposite World. Where up is down, bad is good, and things that are just plain wrong are right!

It’s populated by people who believe that cutting services to people in need, cutting unemployment benefits, cutting education budgets, and cutting funding to take care of the neediest among us while continuing to give huge subsidies to giant oil companies (who are still raking up record profits) is the way to make things better?

When the Republican party drops any semblance of responsibility to serving the country in favor of serving their biggest campaign donors and then defend it as doing what’s in the best interests of our country, that is opposite world.  The most infuriating thing about it is that there are so many brainless dolts in this country who buy their brand of nonsense.

And now, we have the craziest of the so-called tea party wing of  what’s left of the Republican party calling the shots, threatening a government shut-down over their demands to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. Seriously?  I’m absolutely dumfounded.

I should have posted this blog yesterday, but am in the midst of my own personal crisis, as I’m trying to overcome the non-stop obstacles that keep dropping in front of me to get out from under my underwater house.  Yes, it’s being sold in a short sale.  And with it goes my life savings…  At least I know the future is bright, right? Or not.

Yesterday on the show

Yesterday’s show is posted here, as I was too inundated with life’s demands to write this missive…

In addition to my ranting about the incredible delusions of Donald Trump…. I spoke with Angelo Carusone of Media Matters (aka @StopBeck) about the end of Glenn Beck’s show on the fake news network, and comedian John Fugelsang helped me end the broadcast week with a smile.

And only because I said I would post it here, this is the “Morning Joe” segment that made my head explode…

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Apr 062011
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“It’s not a budget. This is a cause.”  A direct quote from Republican Paul Ryan, the Eddie Munster lookalike who heads up the House Budget Committee on his budget… er… cause.

The thing that everyone needs to be screaming/blogging/talking about is the fact that Ryan’s budget cause would do to Medicare what George W. Bush wanted to do to Social Security – kill it!  W failed in that quest.  Thank goodness.  Because if he had been successful in privatizing Social Security, he would have killed it – along with millions of seniors who would have lost everything when the banksters crashed our economy with the help and blessings of that administration.

Now the Republicans want to do it again.  This time, they want to kill off Medicare – along with the millions of seniors who depend on it for their health care.

The question I keep asking is why the lack of non-stop messages explaining to the masses what, in this case, privatization would mean: MORE PROFITS FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY, LESS HEALTH CARE BANG FOR OUR BUCK!

Sorry for shouting, but this should be shouted from the rooftops.  The Republican noise machine constantly touts the private market as the be-all and end-all of fixing our problems.  Seriously?  If our seniors’ social security dollars were in the hands of private Wall Street firms in 2008, your grandmother would be eating cat food right now.

If Medicare is privatized, the insurance industry would get yet another massive taxpayer gift or even more customers required to purchase their overpriced, shitty service… which will cost more (cuz the crooks at the top of the leech chain need to make their zillion dollar salaries and stock options), and provide less and much worse actual health care!  Less efficiency, more bureaucracy as layers of people who’ll make a profit on the backs of our elderly and infirm who NEED real health care.

What don’t the unwashed Fox viewers get? Privatization = fewer, more inefficient services at a higher cost so the bosses can take even more of your money. Get it?

That’s their cause.  Break you, break government, give more money to the already rich by bilking the poor and the going-broke.

Today on the Show

In light of the latest cave from the Obama administration, I invited Kristen Breitweiser on the show this morning. Kristen, whose husband was killed in 9/11, is a mother, attorney and activist, and wrote “The Sad Defeat of our Constitution” for Huffington Post in response to Eric Holder’s announcement earlier this week that Kaleed Sheik Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 co-conspirators will be tried by Military tribunals in Gitmo rather than in our US criminal courts.

The Nation’s Ari Berman joined in to talk about Obama’s progressive problem, which he so frighteningly spelled out in his latest missive, “Jim Messina: Obama’s Enforcer

And DC Douglas, the voiceover artist who gained national notoriety for drunk-dialing Freedomworks and leaving a detailed message with his thoughts on the Dick Armey, a move that led to his being fired by Geico, is back with a new video!

I asked him to join in after watching his newest video: A Sarah Palin/Michele Bachmann Ticket

And here’s that Don’t Drunk Dial Freedom Works PSA…

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Apr 052011
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I’ve never been a joiner.  I wore the marching to my own drummer badge proudly ever since I was an outsider in school.  I registered as a Democrat after spending years with No Party Affiliation (even though I’ve never voted for a Republican) so I could vote for John Edwards in the Florida primary in 2008.  I know what Edwards turned out to be… but during the primaries, he appeared to me to be the most electable progressive choice we had.

I did, however, enthusiastically support Obama when he became the nominee.  And I’ve watched incredulously as my hopes for the future of this nation have been shredded under his ineffective presidency. While watching this president concede a single payer health care system before the negotiating table was even set, to his bargaining away the public option and importing prescription drugs in back room, secret deals to escalating the war in Afghanistan and waging a new war in Libya, I’ve grown more and more incensed over the past two years!

And how about his 180 on criminal trials for the 9/11 masterminds and closing Guantanamo Bay?  (Read Kristen Breitweiser’s HuffPost blog about that subject – she’ll join me on the show tomorrow!)  And choosing Jim Messina – the most progressive unfriendly choice he could make – as his liason to the progressive community? (Read Ari Berman’s piece in The Nation on that subject — he’ll also be on the show tomorrow morning!)

I could go on..and on… and on…  So now, when President Obama challenges me to jump into the fray to help him get re-elected, and people start posting “I’m In” widgets on my facebook page imploring me to do the same, my instincts are to run in the other direction.

Seriously, at a time when I -and many others on the left- feel like our leader has defected to the dark side, he challenges us with a question that just begs for a snarky retort, like asking who’s pocket he’s in. Or simply saying he’s insincere, inartful, insufferable, inexcusable and, at times, incompetent and flat-out insidious.

Will I opt in to the game of knocking on doors, raising and contributing money and actively campaigning for a guy who shows that he’s just another politician who should be wearing corporate logos on his racing suit?  No. I think I’ll stay out.

Of course, I will ll vote for Obama when the time comes. And there’s one main reason. Five to four.

That was the vote in the Supreme Court on a truly insane ruling by the Supreme Court (with the majority opinion written by the inept Clarence Thomas) that ruled against monetary damages awarded to a man who wrongly spent 14 years on death row in Louisiana when the district attorney withheld crucial exonerating evidence.  Five to four was also the inexcusable vote that ruled against the First Amendment when it said that taxpayers in Arizona had no legal standing to challenge a state law that gives tax credits for religious school tuitions.

Am I in? I guess. Just not as IN as President Obama would like me to be.

Today on the show

This morning, I spoke with the guy who made national news because he dared to utter the word uterus on the floor of the Florida House!  State Representative Scott Randolph is my new hero.  He’s outnumbered 2-1 in the Florida legislature, which currently has 18 bills wending their way through the process which would outlaw or limit womens rights of choice.  While delivering a floor speech, he had the gall to say

“The point is that Republicans are always talking about deregulation and big government. But I say their philosophy is small government for the big guy and big government for the little guy. And so, if my wife’s uterus was incorporated or my friend’s bedroom was incorporated, maybe the Republicans would be talking about deregulating.”

Ironically, the GOP didn’t object to the point he was making. No, they objected to his using the word “UTERUS” on the floor, saying it was “language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests.”

No, I’m not kidding.

After a news update from Ellen Ratner at the Talk Radio News Service, I was joined by GottaLaff of The Political Carnival for our weekly segment dishing about some of the news we might otherwise have missed.

Today, we touched on these stories and more…

Climate change critics’ project, funded by Charles Koch Foundation, supports (gasp!) scientific consensus

Transocean “apologizes” for calling 2010 “best year” ever, but not for cash awards

VIDEO: Another awkward moment on Fox

VIDEO: Are Facebook, Twitter & Youtube Making Us ***holes?

VIDEO: The Original Tea Party was not Anti-Government but Anti-Corporation

VIDEO: Mike Hush-Hushabee

5-4

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Apr 042011
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Forty-three years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down. Assassinated. While standing up for the rights of workers to organize.  Sort of makes you wonder what we’ve accomplished in almost a half century, doesn’t it?

Today is your chance to stand with Dr. King.  This morning, I’ll speak with Bob Fertik, president of Democrats.com, who posted this on their website yesterday:

A broad nationwide progressive coalition will host over 1,000 events nationwide on Monday to protest attacks on unions and cuts in essential social programs, and to commemorate the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this date in 1968.

The “We Are One” coalition includes the nation’s largest unions and progressive groups, including AFL-CIO, SEIU, NAACP, Moveon, and Democracy for America.

Dr. King’s legacy will be a powerful inspirational force. He was in Memphis helping sanitation workers fight for a union. The night before his assassination, he gave a moving, prophetic speech:

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop… And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

Dr. King’s vision of the promised land is the opposite of the Tea Party agenda. Since January, Tea Party Republican Governors led by Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio have used budget shortfalls to launch all-out assaults on public sector unions, including the hard-won right of collective bargaining itself. In Michigan, Rick Snyder wants to put anti-union corporations in charge of struggling cities and towns.

Other Republican governors like Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Scott of Florida have made deep cuts in essential social programs like schools and health care, while canceling job-creating infrastructure projects like tunnels and high-speed rail. Christie is demanding major union givebacks and refuses to negotiate.

Even Democratic governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York have made deep cuts instead of extending existing taxes on the state’s wealthiest citizens. Hundreds of protesters were locked out of the State Senate by capitol police when the hugely unpopular budget was passed.

Since January, progressive allies have organized large protests in Wisconsin and across the nation to defend unions, schools, senior citizens, and other targets of budget cuts.

In Wisconsin, progressive allies occupied the State Capitol for weeks, and held outdoor protests in the snow with as many as 150,000 participants – the largest protests ever held in Wisconsin.

On Feburary 26, progressive allies led by Moveon held Wisconsin solidarity rallies in all 50 state capitals, as well as New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities.

On March 15, progressive allies led by Moveon held “Defend the American Dream” rallies in 268 cities and towns.

April 4 is a watershed because the nation’s largest unions, including the AFL-CIO and SEIU, are joining with progressives to mobilize their members for local events in 1,000 cities and towns.

Speakers will include AFLCIO president Richard Trumka, SEIU president Mary Kay Henry, NAACP president Ben Jealous in Newark, and Rev. Jesse Jackson in Madison.

The size and scope of these progressive rallies has greatly surpassed recent Tea Party rallies, which received massive coverage in the national media. When the Tea Party organized its biggest rally in Madison Wisconsin, its small turnout was outnumbered 35:1. Their most recent rally in Washington DC on April 1 attracted under 200 participants.

Numerous polls show a massive swing in public opinion away from the Tea Party and in support of unions and job creation rather than budget cuts.

And progressive strategists are translating public support into political power. In Wisconsin, PCCC and DFA are spearheading recall campaigns against Senate Republicans. Last week, they collected enough signatures to force one recall, and plan several more this week. Local polls show strong support for these recalls, and progressives have raised over $1 million for local organizers and TV ads.

If the 2011 recalls are successful, Wisconsin progressives will work to replace Gov. Scott Walker with Democrat Russ Feingold in 2012, just as Californians replaced Gov. Gray Davis with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003.

The progressive mobilizations in Wisconsin and beyond could play a decisive role in the 2012 elections. Battleground states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Florida gave Barack Obama his historic victory in 2008, but turned Republican in 2010. President Obama needs to win these states back in 2012, and a highly-energized progressive movement will make all the difference.

In hour two, we’ll see just how far we’ve regressed, as Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars joins in for our regular Monday morning Fools on the Hill segment.  Here’s what Nicole has for us today:

Again, more and more, I am convinced that the Beltway pundits—whom I refer to as “bobbleheads” for the most part—live in a separate reality from the rest of us.  A reality where unemployment and real economic struggle does not touch them, where the tea party is more than a handful of angry low-information voters, and where American imperialism is a God-given right.

And it would be fine for them to remain in their insular little bubble, if they weren’t in the business of shaping the narrative for the rest of us.  This week, the House of Representatives made a rather outstanding end run around the Constitution, declaring that the bill they passed would become law, even if the Senate didn’t pass it or the President sign it.  Do you the media might be even a little bothered by the notion that our elected officials do not know the rule of law and ask them about it?  Silly liberal.

It’s much more important instead to check and make sure that Chuck Schumer really, really meant to insult Republicans by calling their proposed budget cuts “extreme”.  Nevermind the fact that the budget cuts are extreme…let’s worry about hurting the GOP’s widdle feelings.

Speaking of that budget, Paul Ryan (who famously makes all his staff read Atlas Shrugged and gives out the book as gifts regularly) appeared on Fox News Sunday saying that the budget that he has worked on will exceed even the $4 trillion in spending cuts that the catfood commission recommended.  But despite these even more draconian cuts, Ryan would not commit that his new budget included cutting welfare for oil and gas companies.

If that’s not infuriating enough, House Majority Leader (and the guy who really needs a copy of Schoolhouse Rock to learn how a bill becomes a law) Eric Cantor let slip the true Republican agenda speaking at the Hoover Institution:  that Social Security “cannot exist” in his America.

The pundits are no better.  Brit Hume was stunned that the anyone could be upset over something so minor and so trivial as Terry Jones burning their holy book.  Now make no mistake, there’s no way to justify the killing of the NATO workers, but at the same time, if Brit would just simply look at this from the perspective of these Afghans: We can invade, destroy, then abandon and re-occupy a country, sending 10,000 Afghanistan civilians to their death, millions of Afghans left homeless, evidence of the callousness of the American servicemembers in their treatment of regular citizens rounded up and imprisoned and tortured at Bagram and even posing with the bodies of other Afghans like hunting trophies. Is it any wonder that Afghans–already pushed to the limits of stress for having lived in a war zone for more than five years–feel murderous rage towards those who claim to want save them fand from themselves ?

And then finally, (and I apologize, because the entire video is 19 minutes long and I had a hard time finding a perfect 1-2 minute clip from it. My choice is from 3:23 – 4:45) Naomi Klein spoke to a TED conference for women and made a very interesting posit: Our cultural addiction to risk is making it difficult to have an honest discussion about climate changes and solutions.  It’s true, it does seem to be part of the American psyche that somehow, things will get fixed at the last minute. Our pop culture references the defusing of the bomb with seconds to spare in all mediums. Even the most apocalyptic among us holds on to the notion of the last minute saving from destruction.

But nature doesn’t work that way. There are no quick and easy solutions and the gamble we’re taking waiting for one is only making that potential loss that much bigger. Klein moves into the gender differences in risk assessment and tolerance which I do agree does play an issue.  Women are far more risk-averse and far more likely to think of sacrificing for the sake of the group.  In dealing with climate change and government, I think we’d all be in a much better place if we just fem out.

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Apr 012011
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It is April Fools Day and, to celebrate, I’ve invited some of the best political comics to join me on today’s Randi Rhodes Show. But before we get to the line-up, allow me to share with you some of today’s news items that should be April Fools pranks but, unfortunately, are not…

The DUH is emphasized in Florida, as a democrat is chastised on the House floor for daring to utter the work “uterus.

Mike Huckabee suggests that we’d be in a better place if only all Americans were forced, at gunpoint, to be indoctrinated by listening to some right wing evangelist.

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sean Duffy complains that he can’t get by in his measly $174,000 salary!

Maine’s new dictator governor Paul LePage (R-eprehensible) admits that he probably shouldn’t have taken down the mural honoring labor from the Maine Dept. of Labor building… while there was a budget fight in progress.

GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons under fire for killing an African elephant.

And Eric Cantor doesn’t have a clue… about how a bill becomes law, or anything else for that matter.

Now for the fun part!  Today – to finish up my week guest hosting the Randi Rhodes Show, I have a bunch of people lined to get us to laugh about things that are inherently not funny:

Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow is the creator of This Modern World which picks up and moves from its home at Salon to Daily Kos

Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, who’s touring this summer in support of Planned Parenthood

Jamie Kilstein, who co-hosts Citizen Radio with his wife Allison Kilkenny, and is appearing Off-Broadway in Laughing Liberally

Andy Cobb is a comic actor, writer and director, probably best known for his work directing  a satirical video troupe of fellow alums of Chicago’s Second City

And my regular Thursday morning guest John Fugelsang – an Award-Winning Comedian who just returned from performing for US Troops in Central America & can also be seen off-Broadway in the progressive standup show ‘Laughing Liberally.’

Happy April Fools Day. No kidding!

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Mar 312011
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It was another busy day on the Randi Rhodes Show today.

In the first hour, I welcomed The Hill’s Brent Budowsky to help us try to understand the budget quagmire in Washington DC.  Honestly, I can’t understand the rationale of Republicans who think that cutting programs to help the needy and cutting taxes on the wealthy individuals and corporations is the way to dig out of a devastating recession.

In hour two, I was joined by David Dayen, who does an amazing job with the news at FireDogLake.  I asked to to come on to talk about the 10-part series on HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program) Part I of this series, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII, Part IX, Part X .

And in hour three, Jeremy Scahill was my guest, to talk about his cover story for The Nation, “The Dangerous US Game in Yemen“.  In case you’re wondering what we were talking about regarding Jeremy’s appearance on the Ed Schultz Show last night,  just watch this…

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up the week and celebrate April Fools Day with John Fuglesang, Lizz Winstead, Jamie Killstein, Andy Cobb and Tom Tomorrow!

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Mar 302011
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Although there’s no such thing as a slow news day any more, we know that real news is difficult to find. But if you know where to look, especially online, you will find lots of news about the Republican party’s war on labor.

Joshua Holland, Senior Writer/Editor at Alternet has been doing a great job, and he’ll join us today with the latest on the situation in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and the other states run by GOP despots who are trying to kill unions.

With our intervention in Libya, many are asking why we’re not helping the other oppressed people of the world.  The Ivory Coast has been mentioned a lot in recent days, but many of us don’t know much about that western African nation. John Amato – founder/publisher of Crooks and Liars has been blogging about what’s happening there.  He was also on the White House-bloggers conference call yesterday, and asked about the lack of aid to the people of Ivory Coast.  He’ll join us today to tell us all about it.

And Gotta Laff will join in from The Political Carnival to talk about some of the stories we might otherwise have missed, including

PALIN VIDEO ADDED: Libya costs vs. Iraq and Afghanistan

Quickie: Donald Trump didn’t produce a real birth certificate of his own

Radio Shack: “Protect yourself with Dish Network. Sign up now, get free gun.”

“Fox watchers don’t have a clue that they are being used by the Koch Brothers & their ilk”

Dueling VIDEOS: Why Republicans should lose in 2012

VIDEO: Oops! Michele Bachmann demands freedom of speech… except for the L.A. Times plus: Michele Bachmann files for re-election

John Boehner spokesman: “Sen. Chuck ‘Aesop’ Schumer and His Fables.”

AUDIO: Top Fox News Executive Admits Lying On-Air About Obama

As I was hitting the air, I came upon an op-ed piece at Marketwatch.com (of all places), that is spot on. I read some of it.  Here’s the link for Paul B. Farrell’s piece “Tax The Super-Rich now or face a revolution“.

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Mar 292011
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That was the big question we asked yesterday.  As Ted Koppel asked on Meet the Press on Sunday,

The question hasn’t yet been answered as to why it is that Libya, of all countries in that region, has won the humanitarian defense sweepstakes of 2011. We have seen many countries, both in that region and throughout the world, where civilian loss and civilian suffering has been much, much greater. Congo for the past 12 years, we’ve lost about five million people. Sudan, three million people, never any talk of military intervention. Take a look at what’s going on in the Ivory Coast today. Secretary Clinton was talking about the number of refugees that might have come out of a Gadhafi attack on Benghazi. You’ve got 700,000 refugees in the Ivory Coast right now–close to a million, in fact. Why, why Libya? Hasn’t been answered.

President Obama attempted to answer that question in last night’s speech. If you missed it, you can read it here, or watch it here:

I watched the speech, and am as confused as ever. I agree that it would be wrong to sit idly by as Kaddafy annihilated innocent civilians. But I still believe it’s wrong to spend billions of American taxpayer dollars bombing and protecting (sic) Libya, while millions of Americans are in desperate need of assistance, while budgets and services here at home are being slashed, and while we’re being told that we’re too broke to take care of our own.

To help me figure it out, I’ll be joined today by the National Journal’s Michael Hirsch.  His response to the president’s speech was this piece entitled “Obama: The No-Doctrine President.

We’ll listen back to some excerpts too, and I’ll take your calls at 866-87-RANDI to get your thoughts.

We’ll also check in with Greg Mitchell, whos been live-blogging WikiLeaks for The Nation .. today is Day #122!   He’s now written two books on WikiLeaks – the new one, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences was just released last week.   Coincidentally, PBS’ ‘Frontline’ has a segment scheduled for tonight, which Greg also wrote about today.

And Jason Leopold – deputy managing editor at Truthout – will join in to tell us about the possible manslaughter charges for BP executives over the 11 people who died during the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Of course, there will be lots of time for you to weigh in on any of these stories at 866-877-2634…

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